Extraordinary Indian: The Hero of Pune
One morning last month, Ibrahim Sharif Kutty went from being one of Pune's many college students to being a genuine Indian hero, whose courage will forever stand the test of time.
This 21-year-old Extraordinary Indian tells A Ganesh Nadar what happened that morning when he spotted a rampaging bus on his way to college.
On January 25, a Maharashtra State Roadways Transport Corporation, driven by a reportedly unhinged MSRTC driver named Santosh Mane, went berserk in Pune, mowing down everything in its path -- cars, motorcycles, human beings...
In scenes reminiscent of the movies, Pune policemen even fired ten rounds at the bus's tyres, but failed to bring the wayward vehicle to a halt.
By the time, Ibrahim Sharif Kutty spotted the renegade bus on his way to the College of Arts, Mane had killed eight people and injured 30 others.
Putting his life at extreme risk, Ibrahim speeded behind the bus on his motorcycle, jumped into the speeding bus and overpowered Mane just as the manic driver was trying to change gears to accelerate.
By then another biker Ashish had leapt into the bus; together, the young men forced Mane out of the bus.
Kutty -- who has been felicitated at 20 functions across Pune so far for his heroism -- is a passionate biker who loves performing stunts. The day before Republic Day, he performed the ultimate stunt, saving countless lives.
The young hero, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday, February 20, tells Rediff.com what exactly happened that day.
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Image: Ibrahim Sharif Kutty, 21, jumped into a running bus from his mororbike to stop a rampaging bus driver who had mowed down 8 people in Pune.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ibrahim Sharif Kutty
'I saw a man dying in front of my eyes'
On that day I was going to college as usual on my bike. A bus brushed me aside and I fell. I saw the bus crushing a girl who died on the spot. Her friend and father were also injured.
I picked up my bike and was thinking what to do when the bus turned around and came back the same way. The driver went past me and I decided to follow him. I came abreast with him and asked him what was wrong. He did not reply.
Other motorbikes were also following him. They told me he had killed many people already. I realised that what I had witnessed was no accident and that made me angry.
The police had put up two barricades on the road, but he just drove right through, smashing the barricades on the way.
The police fired at his tyres, but nothing happened. I saw three young children crossing the road. I pushed them out of the way. I was shouting at people on the road to get out of the way.
The bus brushed against me a second time, but this time I did not fall. By then I was joined by two policemen on motorbikes, and two more police vehicles. The road ahead was empty. On the right there was a crowd waiting to cross the road.
The bus driver then turned right and smashed through vehicles, cars and bikes. He hit a Maruti 800 and brushed against a water tanker. I saw a man dying in front of my eyes.
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Image: A damaged autorickshaw in Pune where a government bus driver sped through the streets smashing his empty bus into dozens of vehicles killing 8 and injuring 30
'I put one foot on the seat of my bike and leapt into the bus'
The water tanker had slowed him down and I realised that this was my opportunity to do something.
I went abreast with the bus and opened the door. I put both my hands on the clutch and put one foot on the seat of my bike and leapt into the bus. My bike crashed to one side.
He was changing gears to accelerate when I hit his neck with my elbow. By this time two cars were being dragged with the bus. I grabbed his ears and neck and kicked him. Then I dragged him out of the driver's seat.
The bus jerked twice and stopped. When the bus stopped, a software engineer Ashish jumped into the bus and helped me contain him. Then the mob got to him and started beating him up.
The police rescued him from the mob and arrested him. They tried to take him away in an autorickshaw. The mob tore the rickshaw apart and started beating him up again. Then the police took him in their Sumo which had arrived by then.
I have never done anything like this before. I am not into doing such stunts. But I can ride my bike without holding the handle bars. I can lift the front tyre and sometimes lift the rear wheel.
Doing stunts is a hobby, I am not going to join the circus!
The government has not communicated with me and I am not expecting anything from them. I am planning to join the Anti Terrorist Squad.
My father buys fish from the fishermen and sells it on the pavement. My mother makes costumes for Bharata Natyam dancers.
I have a younger sister in Class 7. Some of her classmates told her that a Sharif Kutty had stopped the rampaging driver.
She proudly told them, 'He is my brother.'
Image: Onlookers and rescue workers gather around the bus and other vehicles after the Pune tragedy